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The real pandemic

I find the reaction of our national leaders and the media to the Ebola issue to be somewhat bizarre. They are treating Ebola as being a pandemic when, in fact, to date the impact on morbidity and mortality has been quite benign.

At this writing, only one Ebola death has occurred in the United States and fewer than 5,000 deaths have occurred worldwide. Let us put this in the context of deaths from the use of tobacco.

Worldwide there are approximately 5 million deaths each year and in the U.S. there are approximately 500,000 deaths yearly from tobacco. In addition, the tobacco victims suffer terribly from the tobacco-inflicted diseases.

Despite this awesome toll, the tobacco industry operates with impunity worldwide. When will our national and international leaders put things in perspective and take meaningful steps to curtail the worldwide tobacco pandemic?

John O’Hara

Bowie, Md.

The writer is president of the Maryland Group Against Smokers’ Pollution.


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